Page 9 - Flipbook: Sociology Shortcuts Issue 3
P. 9

Or Culture?

      Sociologists are sceptical about the idea of Adaptation: We live in a vast, complex,
      instinct as the basis for human behaviour,         constantly-changing world and people
      for three main reasons:                            need to be able to adapt to such changes. A
                                                         simple example here is the recent and rapid
      Choice: Instincts, by definition, involve a        development of computer technology that,
      lack of choice: their purpose is to create         through things like the Internet, has
      order by explicitly removing choice from           changed the way people both see and
      the agenda. Human behaviour, on the other interact in the world.
      hand, involves an almost limitless set of
      choices, some of which are fairly banal            Fifty years ago the idea we’d be carrying
      (“Should I do my Sociology homework or             hugely-powerful computers around in our
      watch TV?”) and some of which aren’t               pocket and using them to connect to people
      (“Should I buy this very interesting book          around the world did not exist outside the
      or steal it from the bookshop?”).                  world of science fiction.

      Diversity: The fact we can make                    Now computer technology is everywhere
      behavioural choices, contributes to the            and embedded deeply into our social
      diversity of human behaviour. One of the           behaviour.
      fascinations of Sociology (there are others,
      but none actually come to mind) is that            Instinctive behaviour is something that
      people develop different (diverse) ways of         does not and cannot change. If human
      doing things. If our behaviour was simply          behaviour was guided by instinct, we
      instinctive we’d expect to see much the            would find it impossible to either initiate or
      same sort of behaviour wherever we were            adapt to change…
      in the world - and while there are
      numerous similarities and continuities in
      people’s behaviour, there are also a vast
      range of differences that stem from our
      ability to make choices.

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